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Spanish editor compares ‘indignants’, French revolutionaries

Published on 27/09/2011

One of Spain's most powerful newspaper editors compared Spain's "indignant" protest movement to the 18th-century radicals of the French revolution, as he released a new book Monday.

Pedro J. Ramirez, editorial director of leading conservative daily El Mundo, drew the parallel at the launch of his new history of the French revolution, El Primer Naufragio (The First Shipwreck).

The books details the period in 1793 between the execution of Louis XVI and a coup d’etat, which led to widespread executions.

Ramirez explained that after having delivered the book to his publishers in January 2011, the “indignant”, or “15-M” protest movement against the political management of Spain’s economic crisis swept the country in March.

“Indignant” was synonymous with the word “Enraged” used by a group of French radicals in the revolution, he said in an interview shortly before launching the book at the French embassy in Madrid.

“And what do the ‘Enraged’ say about the national assembly? That: ‘They don’t represent us, we want direct democracy’.

“What did the 15-M say from the Plaza del Sol encampment? ‘The deputies don’t represent us. We are the people and we want to intervene directly in the laws’.”

Ramirez also drew a “spectacular” parallel between the French revolution and the eurozone debt crisis.

“What was the cause of the failure of the revolution? The same as that of the old regime: the fiscal deficit. They could not square the accounts. What did the revolution do? Start to issue notes,” he added.

“What are the European democracies doing? We cannot issue notes because there is a single currency. We issue debt.”

On the financial troubles facing Spanish media, Ramirez said newspapers could witness a “new Golden Age” if they could succeed in placing themselves in the centre of a media system offering entertainment including literature, video and applications for tablets, which he said were ideal for reading the daily press.